ISLP mag. and its unique digital platform present one ethnic enclave per issue. It aims to reveal what is going on behind these complex and contradictory neighbourhood doors. The first issue takes us on a journey to Chungking Mansions (CKM), a dilapidated 17-storey commercial and residential structure in the heart of Hong Kong. You can click here for a closer look at Chungking Mansions or click here for more information about the place.
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CLOSE Chungking Mansions is a building located at 36–44 Nathan Road in Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, HK. Though the building was supposed to be residential, it is made up of many independent low-budget hotels, shops and other services. As well as selling to the public, the stalls in the building cater to wholesalers shipping goods to Africa and South Asia. The unusual atmosphere of the building is sometimes compared to that of the former Kowloon Walled City.
Chungking Mansions features guesthouses, curry restaurants, African bistros, clothing shops, sari stores, and foreign exchange offices. It often acts as a large gathering place for some of the ethnic minorities in Hong Kong, particularly South Asians (Indians, Nepalese, Pakistanis, Bangladeshis and Sri Lankans), Middle Eastern people, Nigerians, Europeans, Americans, and many other peoples of the world. Peter Shadbolt of CNN stated that the complex was the “unofficial African quarter of Hong Kong”. From the outside, Chungking Mansions looks like a single, imposing concrete block — 15 identical residential floors on top of a neon-lit, two-storey mall. Past the front, it is like a maze — there are in fact five separate blocks, 10 lifts and multiple old, twisting stairwells filled with swathes of electrical cable, crumbling concrete and graffiti in multiple languages. The complex began life as an upmarket residential estate in the 1960s, but has since become a hub for traders from developing countries, backpackers and asylum seekers in Hong Kong. More than 10,000 people are estimated to enter or exit the building every day, and African and South Asian faces often outnumber Chinese faces — something remarkable in a city where 94% of residents are ethnic Chinese. The building complex has a somewhat notorious reputation among locals and, until recently, many in Hong Kong were wary of stepping inside. However, the building has a buzz that most Hong Kong Chinese would also recognise — nearly everyone is there to make money...
(From BBC NEWS, click here to read the whole article)